illustration of historical context of the calderstones

SLR's Dr George Nash has new book published about Neolithic Calderstones

Dr George Nash (of SLR's Archaeology and Heritage team), along with colleagues from the National Museums Liverpool, has just published a new book on the Calderstones, a now destroyed Neolithic passage grave dating to 3000 BC. 

The site originally stood outside Calderstones Park in Allerton. Despite its destruction in the early part of the 19th century, six large sandstone blocks were rescued. These stones remained in a nearby farmyard to Calderstones Park for over 60 years, before being re-erected in a traffic island just outside Calderstones Park during the early part of the 20th century. During the 1960s, the six stones were transferred to a large greenhouse in Calderstones Park and there they remained until several years ago. 

The six stones are all engraved with prehistoric motifs and date to the Neolithic and later Bronze Age periods. The engraved art is accompanied by medieval and 19th-and 20th-century graffiti. Although the Neolithic passage grave no longer exists, the stones are regarded as the most elaborately decorated examples of what is termed 'Megalith art' in England; the prehistoric art is similar to engraved art found in two Neolithic passage graves in Anglesey and eastern Ireland. 

Dr Nash and his co-authors consider the art on the Calderstones to be part of a pan-European tradition that extended as far south as Spain and Portugal and continued northwards to Brittany and Ireland, the western British Isles, and onto Western Scotland and Orkney. The symbols and motifs - mainly cupmarks, concentric circles, spirals, and rare examples of engraved footprints probably represent a graphic and symbolic language that would have been understood by artists and communities associated with the way death, burial and ritual were performed.  The Stones that once formed the Neolithic passage grave are now on display in Calderstones Park, having been fully recorded and conservated. 

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